December 5th, 2016
They’re called the Sandwich Generation, an ever-growing mash up of Generation X and millennials who find themselves stuck between the rock and a hard place of simultaneously taking care of young children and aging Baby Boomer parents. And, as those parents approach their 70’s, sandwichers are finding the balancing act even more challenging.
How to handle the squeeze from children and parents who need time, love, patience and even money – at the same time – is something that can put stress and strain on relationships, health, and budgets, but aging experts say there are some things that can help.
And “help,” as it turns out, is the key word. Sandwichers should accept as much help as possible. From spouses, friends, in-laws, anyone who’s able-bodied and trustworthy. By accepting assistance from friends and family, caregivers can take much-needed breaks – for rest, attending to neglected chores, or just for some well-deserved fun.
When an aging parent is also sick or disabled, care-giving can morph into a full-time job, so professional help may be needed. There are a range of lower-cost and free senior resources available through state-run departments of aging and many also have family caregiver programs.
But regardless of who ultimately cares for an aging parent, a whole gamut of emotions, from sadness to guilt, will come into play. Which is why, when a parent reacts adversely, it’s important to learn to temper your emotions with an appreciation for the extra time you get to spend with a family member in need.